I have had the honour of siting in our Pacific Caucus with Jody Wilson-Raybould for the last year, and relied on her for advice, laughter, and council in tough times. These last few weeks have been trying, as the woman I know is one of the highest of integrity.
I have done my best to reach out to Jody, and speak with her about these issues. In the last two weeks, I have spent countless hours and time trying to find a way forward. I wanted to see a way for her to stay a part of our team, and I wanted to have her feel comfortable in what was happening here in Ottawa.
As Chair of the Pacific Caucus, my role was to mediate the discussions in caucus and attempt to achieve a consensus within our caucus to go forward to National Caucus. We have not always agreed, but beyond all else, we have strived to have collegial and thoughtful conversations among equals.
Many have raised with me the idea that these incredibly smart, powerful women were bullied by those in our caucus and the Prime Minister. I take these claims seriously. The whisper campaigns, and the things said were regrettable and I believe that we should never make those who stand on principle feel belittled or disrespected when they raise their issues.
This issue has caused me to reflect on my time in provincial politics. I did not always agree with the leaders I served under. No matter how I may have felt about issues, I knew it was my responsibility to support our government.
My goal, and I believe the goal of the prime minister, was to find a thoughtful compromise, wherein all involved felt confident and proud to stand together as one party, to take on the challenges facing our country, being stronger for having gone through these challenges.
Unfortunately, once the tape of the conversation was released, this was no longer possible. Too many of my colleagues could not reconcile this. I am saddened by what has happened but know this was the right decision for both our party and country, and support the prime minister whole heartedly.
You have all heard that politics is “a team-sport.” I think what is lost when we talk about politics as sport, is not that there cannot be dissent, which makes us stronger, but that there must be a mutual trust and respect.
I have always tirelessly advocated for our community. My role has always been to take your concerns and bring them to first Victoria and now Ottawa. I will continue to serve you, and look forward to hearing your perspectives and opinions.
Gordon Hogg, South Surrey-White Rock MP